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5 Techniques to Maintain A Twist Out on Short Hair

Ever felt boxed in with styling your short natural hair and decided to get a twist out on it? It looks fantastic on short hair and also acts as a protective, low-heat style.

But have you ever nailed the initial style only to see your flawless twists frizz out, and lose definition way too fast? I’ve been there and it’s so annoying!

Fortunately, there are some simple secrets to keep the twist-out on short hair for longer.

I’ll share the reasons why it tends to get loose faster and some easy tips to maintain your short twist-out to keep it flawless for a longer period of time. Let’s keep your stunning coils going strong!

Why Is It Difficult to Maintain Short Twist Out?

A twist-out is a no-heat/low-heat style that involves twisting sections of the hair while it is wet, and then pulling the twists apart after the hair dries (The hair has to be soaking wet, not damp).

Maintaining a twist out on short hair can present its own set of challenges. Here’s why:

  • Short hair doesn’t have the weight and length to keep the coils defined and secured. The result is faster unraveling and frizz.
  • Short hair needs to be re-twisted more often than longer lengths. This means more manipulation.
  • Moisture retention is harder. The tight textures on short hair tend to dry out rapidly. Lack of moisture leads to shrunken, frizzy twists.
  • As more scalp gets exposure, it can affect the overall look of the twists.
  • Product buildup happens faster because of the short length of hair.

How to Maintain Twist Out on Short Hair

You have just pulled apart your twists, and now you are rocking gorgeous twists! But, since you have short hair, your twist-out can quickly turn messy if you don’t maintain it properly.

Below are several suggestions that, if applied, will keep your short twist-out fresh and stylish for as long as possible. 

1. Don’t Style It Roughly

woman with twist out short hair

When we are in a rush to get out the door, we want to get our hair in place as quickly as possible, which can result in what I like to call rough styling.

Instead of taking the time to touch up your curls in the morning, you may want to shake them out a bit, pin them back, and get moving.

While this can be a time saver, it certainly doesn’t help to extend the life of your twist-out. Instead, be gentle with your hair.

Put a little bit of extra care and time into styling it so that you don’t compromise the definition of your curls.

If you are gentle with your hair, you will notice that your twist-out stays defined and frizz-free for much longer. 

2. Use Satin/Silk Pillowcase And Bonnet While You Sleep 

using satin pillowcase to maintain twist out short hair

There is nothing worse for a short twist-out than friction. If you do not sleep without a silk bonnet and/or pillowcase at night, be prepared for your twist-out to only last you a couple of days.

Using a cotton pillowcase (or other non-silk/satin fabric) creates friction that can transform your beautiful twist-out into an unrecognizable mess. 

You must use a satin or silk pillowcase to reduce this friction and maximize the life of your twist-out. For even more protection, you can wear a satin/silk bonnet as well.

If you use a satin/silk pillowcase and/or a satin/silk bonnet, you will notice that you have much less work to do in the morning when you refresh your twists. Also, your twists will stay defined for much longer. 

3. Refresh Your Twist Out with Curl Cream

twist out short hair

When you first pulled apart your twists, you used a light oil to coat your curls and minimize frizz.

You may have to refresh your curls every day or two to maintain your short twist-out. Refreshing your twist-out requires curl cream to smooth down frizz and redefine your twists. 

To refresh your short twist, start at the back of your head and work your way forward. Apply some curl cream to each curl/twist.

Smooth the curl between your fingers, and reshape it if needed by re-twisting it or looping it around your finger. When you have finished with your whole head, let your hair air dry without touching it.

After it has completely dried, apply a small amount of hair oil to your twists for extra shine, and fluff up your roots to get some volume. 

Note: You can also spray a leave-in conditioner on your hair before you apply the curl cream. I wouldn’t suggest using water unless you have to completely redo some of your twists.

4. Moisturize Your Hair

how to moisturize twist out short hair

From the time you start your twist-out, all the way to the very end when you decide to either redo your twist-out or opt for another style, you should be moisturizing your hair.

If your hair is dry, the twist-out won’t hold, and you will be left with frizzy, brittle curls. However, hydrated curls will hold their shape and maintain their definition and shine. 

Make sure your hair and scalp are hydrated before you even begin forming your twists. How often you apply oils and leave-in conditioners to your scalp and hair after that will depend on your unique needs. 

To maintain a moisturized scalp, gently rub a little bit of oil on your scalp every night or every other night before bed.

Depending on how dry your hair is, you can also spread this oil into your twists. (Don’t use too much oil or very heavy oil. A small amount of lightweight hair oil will do the trick).

As stated earlier, you can also use a leave-in conditioner while refreshing your curls. Whatever you use to moisturize your hair and scalp, you can be sure that your twist out will thank you!

5. Don’t Touch Your Twists Throughout The Day 

Keeping your hands (and other people’s hands) away from your hair can be a challenge, but it is necessary if you want to maintain a beautiful, long-lasting twist-out.

Touching your hair repeatedly throughout the day can cause frizz. Also, the oils from your hands can rub off on your hair, making it look greasy. 

If you want to fluff up your twist-out at some point during the day, use a wide-toothed comb instead of your hands.

Place the comb and your scalp and pull, just a little bit, it in an outward direction. (Don’t pull it through your curls. Just keep it near the scalp).

If your twists absolutely need some shaping, wash your hands before you handle your hair, and gently reshape your twists as you would while refreshing them. 


By following the suggestions below, you will be able to maintain your short twist-out and rock this versatile style for as long as possible. 

  • A twist-out can last for up to a few weeks. 
  • Style your twist-out gently to avoid disrupting the definition of your curls.
  • Use a satin or silk pillowcase and/or bonnet while you sleep to reduce friction against your hair. 
  • Refresh your twist-out piece-by-piece using a curl cream and perhaps an oil or leave-in conditioner. 
  • Keep your twist-out moisturized by regularly applying oil to your scalp and oil or leave-in conditioner to your hair. 
  • If you need to retouch your twist-out throughout the day, either use a wide-toothed comb or clean hands. Avoid touching your hair excessively.